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Michael McDonald’s husky baritone is one of the most instantly recognizable voices from the ‘70s and ‘80s. As a member of The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and a hitmaking solo artist, Michael McDonald’s career is one for the books.

Enter Paul Reiser—the comedic actor and writer behind New York Times best-selling books, popular movies and TV shows. Before the start of the pandemic, Paul met Mike McDonald at a party and the two became fast friends. Listening to Michael’s incredible stories, Paul found himself trying to piece together the arc of Michael’s career. They began recording their conversations and soon they had over 600 pages of stories that they eventually turned into the memoir, What A Fool Believes. The book chronicles the highs and lows of Michael’s career, his struggles with addiction, and his lifelong insecurities.

On today’s episode Justin Richmond talks to Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser about their unlikely working relationship. Michael also talks about why his proposed Quincy Jones-produced solo album never materialized. And he remembers the time one of his childhood heroes—Ray Charles—chewed him out while wearing a bathrobe.

You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite Michael McDonald songs HERE.

And you can grab your copy of this fantastic memoir HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…